Grand Valley sports are easy to cover
At Grand Valley State University, you can write the headlines, and most of the paragraphs, to the games you are covering before the end of the first half. GVSU sports are generally about as easy to predict as a Pistons-Heat game, and thus I could often get a headstart on my headlines before the contest had even ended – “Lakers win in a (choose from following: blowout, shutout, thriller, rainstorm).”
No, not all our teams win all their games – that’d be impossible – but Grand Valley is a special school to attend, especially from an athletic standpoint. I’ve gotten to cover three national championships, a heartbreaking loss in the 2009 Division II football championship game and several first-team All-American athletes.
From a journalistic point of view, GVSU sports could be the best university sports program to cover in the nation. You get the thrill of covering an elite athletic program, yet the accessibility and modest nature of Division II sports. Cover a championship-winning Division I team and you have to fight off 15 other reporters to get an interview. Our athletes are down-to-earth, easy to talk to and really, really good.
But that doesn’t mean Grand Valley sports are perfect. We should probably get a few indoor courts for our tennis teams to play on during their winter season so they don’t have to drive to Grand Rapids to practice at six in the morning on a weekday. We also can’t have outdoor track meets because our running surface has more potholes as I-96. And while we’re at it, let’s scrap the Mary Idema Pew Library construction and instead build a 5,000-seat ice rink in the exact same spot and get an NCAA Division I team. Though I don’t know how the studious, non-hockey fans will feel about that, let’s do it anyway.
But looking back on it as I wrap up my two years at the Lanthorn, I see a school that does what it’s supposed to do. We don’t break any rules, but we still win all the time – we have seven straight Director’s Cups after all. No one else can say that. Division I schools cheat their way to wins more often than they should. Which is once, I guess.
It’s reassuring when Grand Valley wins a national title because you don’t have to worry about how long it’s going to be until the NCAA investigates and we have to vacate all our wins.
We’re a clean program, and though we might not draw 75,000 out on football Saturdays or pack the Fieldhouse 8,000-strong for basketball, the students who do follow are just as rabid. Don’t believe me? Try standing in the middle of our student section on a Saturday night against Saginaw Valley. You’re gonna get rocked.
So it’s been a hell of a run. To the thousands of fans, athletes and coaches I’ve gotten to deal with, I’m honored to have met you.
Keep winning national championships. And maybe build an ice rink.